Seven Characteristics to Admire in Supply Chains

Measuring supply chain excellence has been historically difficult, due to an unaligned project-based approach, a focus on vertical excellence, and a lack of corporate understanding. The top performers have however found ways to overcome these challenges, and Lora Cecere writes for Forbes about seven characteristics that separate industry leaders from the rest of the pack.

Magnificent Seven

  1. Leadership
  2. Outside-in processes
  3. Mature horizontal process
  4. “Right stuff” in the organization
  5. Supply chain design
  6. Aligned metrics
  7. Strong planning capabilities

Companies with balanced sales and operations planning processes outpace their peers with 10 times greater performance in inventory turns, which goes to show how beneficial mature horizontal processes are. The “right stuff” meanwhile consists of things like advanced HR departments, a well-integrated finance team, and having a supply chain center of excellence. Cecere says only 22 percent of companies actively design their supply chains, but if you make the effort to do so, it will flow much more capably cross-functionally. Aligned metrics would stem from this practice as well.

About planning capabilities, Cecere says:

Companies with better planning capabilities score higher on the methodology. The supply chain today cannot be adequately managed on a spreadsheet. Yet, despite the implementation of many supply chain planning technologies, the spreadsheet is still the most commonly used technology for planning. The issues are many—difficulty with the user interface, scalability, a lack of what-if modeling, suitability of the data model—getting it right makes a major difference in driving corporate performance.

To learn more about the best aspects of the best supply chains, you can read the full article here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/loracecere/2014/09/21/seven-characteristics-of-supply-chains-to-admire/

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